Sunday, July 27, 2008

1954 Site Underway

Well, if you head over to the 1954 page, you’ll notice it’s finally starting to get some content. There'll be four categories of material you’ll eventually see:

Pre-season, beginning in September 1953.
Spring Training (April 1954).
Regular season.
Post season and League folding.

So far, I’ve finished the pre-season and spring training game stories and roster moves, and have started on the regular season. The most interesting pre-season stuff (and there isn’t much) is the WIL meetings (where Bob Brown was summarily dumped) and Colonist sport editor Jim Tang’s All-Victoria WIL team. As the Tyees folded in the ’54 season, I don’t think he would have made any changes. And there’s lots on the Calgary soap opera.

Research for this blog involves, mainly, going through reels of a minimum of two newspapers at the library, as well as a couple of on-line sources, followed by transcribing of stories and columns. It takes time.

And what happened in that final year for the WIL?

Some of the season highlights you’ll read:
Vain attempts to save the Spokane and Calgary franchises, which folded in June.
Victoria finally succumbing to years of financial problems and little interest in baseball and packing it in at the start of August.
Vancouver winning the crown over Lewiston.
The league imploding almost immediately after the championship series.

Oh, and I may find some unexpected odd stuff.

There’ll be the day-by-day game highlights of the regular season, or at least (I hope) a linescore for each game, depending on what I can find.

After that’s done, I may take a breather, but I’d like to restructure some of the yearly sites and then start on 1937-1942, though it looks like most games will be limited to a score only due to an unfortunate lack of available source material.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Some Pictures From the Vancouver Capilanos

First, my apologies for not doing much with the blog lately (specifically, the 1953 season). I explained the situation in the post below and am overwhelmed doing other things. In fact, it was only last Thursday I had a chance to take in a game for the first time this season at Nat Bailey Stadium. And, unfortunately, my time to work on this will be limited for the forseeable future, notwithstanding the fact my old laptop I need to transcribe information is finally frapping out.

I've got the rest of the 1953 season in draft mode to put on that page. The problem is the standings have to be done for each game and the AP wire of the day royally screwed them up so I have to manually calculate them. And I want to flesh out some game stories and dig up a few missing linescores. That all takes time.

However, during the away-time I've received a couple of e-mails from Mark Tran. Mark's dad is Len Tran and his uncle is Ray. As WIL fans know, the Tran brothers were fixtures in the Vancouver Capilanos infield for several years and were probably the finest keystone combination in the city's history (though Lenn Sakata and Ed Romero had a good year in 1979). Mark has graciously sent me some photos which I'd like to share with you.

This picture is of the 1947 Capilanos at Vancouver's Athletic Park, autographed by none-other than Mr. Baseball, Bob Brown. If you can't see the names, Len is at the bottom right and Ray is next to him. The team had some great players and won the pennant by percentage points and raindrops.

A spring training picture from 1947 in Sunnyside, Washington. Len is on the left, and fellow Washington State boy Buddy Hjelmaa is on the right. Buddy played on several clubs in the league. Whether he's still with us, I don't know. Mark points out his dad had a spike wound under his nose.
The Vancouver Library has this and other 1948 spring training shots in its photo collection, but none specify who is in the picture. They were taken by Art Jones. They're in the public domain, so perhaps I should post some.

Here are the 1948 Caps at Athletic Park. At least, I'll take the photo's word for it. But the background and topography don't look like Vancouver, even of the 1940s. There would be houses on three sides of the park and the north view would overlook downtown with the mountains in the background.
Len mentioned to Mark that the field went down hill (it was built on the hill coming up from False Creek). One of the columns in a Tri-City paper I've posted refers to this as well.

The one on the right's pretty self-explanatory. And 14¢! The current Vancouver Canadians programme goes for $5. Albeit, you get an article written by me. Hmm. Come to think of it, I got paid less than 14¢ for it. And you also get a nice piece from Kit Krieger on opening night at Cap Stadium in 1951 (with a box score that came from a certain blog), which also mentioned the Tran brothers.

Mark didn't supply this picture of the programme from the following year—I think I got it off eBay or something—but I don't think I've put it up, so here it is. The programmes certainly aren't as elaborate as what you find today, but there are shots of all the players and the previous year's stats; the basic stuff every baseball fan would want. Oh, and quaint ads for small local stores.

I'd like to thank Mark for taking the time to send these to me. If he decides to send anything else to share with you, I'll certainly put them up. Perhaps he can get his dad to send a note about how he was signed by the Seattle Rainiers and his musings of life in the Western International League (including his departure from Vancouver to Tri-City).

During the dead posting time, a nice e-mail came in from Jim Wert's son. Jim played first base with both Vancouver and Victoria in the WIL. Judging by various newspaper pieces I've put on the year-to-year blogs, he was much in demand.